Millennials view the world differently than previous generations, Including mine, and I ain’t that old! Building connections and effectively communicating with millennials requires a few subtle nuances. Generally speaking, they get bored quicker, want to know the ‘why’ behind everything and desire instant feedback.

All 3 of these traits can become strengths if you choose to ‘speak their language.’ Remember, you can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf! The best part about millennials is that they crave improvement and want to be held accountable.  

Here are 12 tips for leading millennials…

  1. Find out how to truly connect with each member of your team individually. Find out what makes them tick, what motivates them, and what their preferred way is to be held accountable.
  2. Embrace social media and technology – it’s not going anywhere. The top 2 ways millennials communicate is through text messaging and social media (particularly Snapchat and Instagram). Learn to use those platforms.
  3. Understand this: consistency breed’s excellence, excellence breeds trust, trust breeds loyalty, and loyalty builds a strong organization. Be consistent with everything you do. Millennials won’t respect you if you don’t.
  4. Encourage this 3-step mistake policy: 1) Admit it, 2) Fix it, 3) Don’t repeat it! The first time it is a mistake. The second time it is a decision. Millennials need to freedom to try new things and risk making mistakes.
  5. Emphasize attitude and effort before strategy. Without proper attitude and effort, strategy won’t matter anyway.
  6. Clearly and consistently articulate your core values, principles, and each individual’s role. These are non-negotiable. They make up your organization’s culture.
  7. Millennials want to know the why behind everything. So tell them! Explain why you do what you do, why you believe what you believe, and why you expect what you expect from them. The higher the perceived relevance, the higher the buy-in. And at the end of the day, a leader’s #1 job is to get buy-in from every member of the team.
  8. Social media has created an abundance of superficial ‘friends’ – make sure your people know you truly care about them and that you have their back. This is accomplished by creating a culture that values people over productivity. Millennials must know you care about them as a human being first and an employee second.
  9. Replace ‘but’ with ‘now’ when offering feedback. For example, “I like this logo, now try it with a thin outline around the text.” This minor change will make a huge impact when communicating with millennials.
  10. Contrary to a perpetuated myth, millennials actually want discipline. It shows them that you care and are invested in their success. You’re either coaching it, or you are allowing it to happen. You either accept it or correct it. There is nothing in between.
  11. Most millennials have grown up in the ‘trophy generation,’ which has created an immense sense of entitlement. They need to learn another ‘E’ word – earn. Create a system where individuals have to earn everything.
  12. Most millennials prefer experiences over things. So reward them with experiences and memories, not stuff.

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